Holiday Album Roundup 2012

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Posted December 11, 2012 by J Matthew Cobb in Features
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Kem
What Christmas Means

The Quiet Storm crooner tackles his next frontier with What Christmas Means, his first holiday project. He tries to pull off Lionel Richie melodies on “A Christmas Song for You” and sings about old times’ sake with Ledisi on “Be Mine for Christmas,” but the album focuses heavily on taking mild 1950’s piano jazz into the 21st century. Kem finds solace in Vince Guarlidi’s classic gem “Christmas Time Is Here,” but it is his reckless chants of “gurl” that plague this performance. He murders a chance of singing a unisex offering for the whole family, and goes for more of his familiar nightlife pick-up line bait. Sadly, the gimmick sounds out of place, even comical. Also evidenced heavily on “The Christmas Song,” you start to wonder if Kem’s “gurl” echoes are recorded samples taken from obnoxious chatter taken from any inner city beauty shop. Sadly these poor choices on the inside of What Christmas Means, particularly when the original lyrics are undercooked and the musical arrangements lack imagination, prove to be very unsettling for a man of his league. These blunders ruin the golden opportunity for him to take his Quiet Storm soul to the next level. Whatever that is, it isn’t this.

Release Date: 16 October 2012
Label: Motown

 

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About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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